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Competiton for the Backup QB Position

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Competiton for the Backup QB Position

On Wednesday April 14th, it was announced that the Pittsburgh Steelers re-signed former 2017 4th round pick, quarterback Josh Dobbs to a one-year contract for this upcoming season. I think many are excited about his return. Dobbs showed potential to be the type of quarterback this league seems to be gravitating towards at times and has the prototypical QB sort of build. He stands at 6’3″, weighing in at 194 pounds, but has the athletic ability to make himself more of a dual threat. During the 2017 NFL Combine, Dobbs was clocked running a 4.6 40-yard dash time, and paired that with 42 touchdowns thrown in 2 seasons as the starting quarterback for the University of Tennessee.

This means that the Seelers will go into the 2021 season with four viable options at quarterback, all with NFL experience behind them. We know there is no question who the starting QB is, Ben Roethlisberger himself is coming back for at least one more year, and has a great supporting cast surrounding him. The question is, who then becomes his backup? In my opinion, this will be somewhat of an open competition amongst Mason Rudolph, Dwayne Haskins and Josh Dobbs who all seem to be going into training camp competing for their chance to claim that spot — with Rudolph having the edge.

The Dobbs signing may have come as a shock to some, especially because the Steelers themselves had announced a few months prior the signing of the former Washington Football Team’s first round pick Dwayne Haskins to a reserve/futures contract. While there is no guarantee Haskins will have a spot on the roster when Week 1 of next season comes around, I do think re-signing him and Dobbs solidifies the idea that the organization is looking to get the best out of their best possible option for Roethlisberger’s backup for the upcoming year. Especially after seeing the importance of that position first hand. 



Currently above both Haskins and Dobbs on the depth chart as of now, you will find 3rd year veteran Mason Rudolph. He himself has just about a full year of NFL experience as a starter under his belt with the Steelers organization. His resume so far has been ridiculed to say the least. His first year starting after Ben went down with an injury earlier on in the year, was shaky back in 2019. I don’t think it was a fair assessment of how this guy can play. He suffered a severe injury during a game against the Baltimore Ravens, and didn’t seem to have that jolt he provided in the week prior after he recovered.

He has shown improvement in his game, especially when he got the chance last season, and we have seen receiver Chase Claypool posting videos on Instagram of he and Rudolph together, putting in work during the off-season. The Steelers have been vocal about their confidence in him as the number two to Roethlisberger, but as of late, the moves the Steelers have made may make people question.

I do feel as if the “odd man out” if you will, might be Haskins. He has all the potential in the world, his college resume is impressive, but with only one short year of NFL experience, his game didn’t seem to translate well to the NFL. Haskins is praised for his arm talent, with the ability to not only throw the deep ball, but to be able to fit the football into tight windows that others cannot. He stands at 6’3″, 229 pounds, and has a big frame which is what we see from the quarterback position with this organization. If we can get even a glimpse in training camp of what we saw him do in college on a consistent level, he has a shot to make this football team.



Dobbs has a year of experience with the Steelers playbook already under his belt. Yes, that playbook will have some changes to it, especially after the hire of last year’s QB coach Matt Canada as the new offensive coordinator, but that’s also the exact reason I think this move was made. Dobbs fits Canada’s scheme, he is a quick runner who has shown the ability to move the ball when in his hands and could be used in jet or wildcat formations, keeping the opposing defense guessing — something Canada likes to do. He is a solid player to have on your football team who has a high football IQ and gets praised for how great of a teammate he is. He can be used in unique ways, and while I do think both Rudolph and Haskins show more promise in the league than Dobbs does, the Steelers seem to like him, especially after bringing him back for a second time.

The only scenario I see this position changing is if someone the Steelers absolutely loves ends up falling in the draft, which I don’t see happening. The Steelers will most likely go into the year with these four options. We know the number one, but who will end up being the number two? 


Do you think Rudolph will reclaim his position? Or will the Steelers go down a different road? Comment below!


I am a 23 year old die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan from upstate NY. I can safely say that I have not missed a single Steelers game over the last 16 years. Always thankful to my dad for raising me a fan of the black & gold. Love writing about anything Steelers related, trying to get the breaking news to the best fans in the NFL! Follow me on twitter @JonClark_7 & HERE WE GO!

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